Getting dental implants is a common restorative treatment for missing teeth, and the procedures have improved dramatically in the past few decades. These technological advances have made the recovery process easier than ever, but there are best practices to follow to allow your body to recover quickly, like any minor surgery.
The dental implant healing process hinges on allowing both the tooth and gums to experience as little disturbance as possible. An ideal dental implant recovery diet minimises your exposure to hot foods, acidic foods, and hard foods while also avoiding other potential irritation triggers.
Avoiding Hard Foods
The initial dental implant healing process lasts from three days to a week unless significant bone grafts are involved. In some cases, your healing process may take much longer, with minor diet modifications lasting for weeks. Your dentist can advise you as to the exact timeline depending on the number and type of dental implants you received.
Hard and tough foods are the most common hazard for healing dental implants. Even if food seems soft enough to break with your teeth, it might still cause discomfort if it has contact with the site of your dental implants. Popcorn, steak, and even bagels are all tough enough to cause your new implants’ potential issues.
Besides hard foods, watch out for acidic and spicy foods. Tomato sauces are a common irritant for dental implant incisions that are still healing, but citrus juices and sour candy can also be a problem.
Hot foods and drinks also irritate the site. Although you should be able to resume eating warm foods within a few days after getting your dental implants, make sure to adequately cool your coffee and other hot products for at least a week following surgery.
Finally, avoid alcohol and smoking for several days after your dental implants. In addition to stinging and irritating your implant site, sucking on a cigarette can irritate the wound and create negative pressure in your mouth, potentially dislodging blood clots.
Extra Caution for the First Day
The first day of the dental implant recovery process is the hardest. Your dentist will advise you to eat only very soft foods that don’t require chewing for the first 24 hours. Smoothies are an excellent choice, and you can make them with a variety of fruits and even vegetables to get your necessary nutrients.
Even applesauce may potentially sting your gums if you had a particularly difficult dental implant. Have additional food options on hand if applesauce or another mildly acidic food causes you discomfort.
Stick to cold or room-temperature foods for the first day. Due to food safety best practices, cold foods are usually the best option. However, you may need to avoid frozen or very cold foods if you have ongoing tooth sensitivity problems.
How to Eat Safely?
Use a spoon instead of a straw for your smoothies and drink other drinks directly from the glass. Sucking through a straw can cause subtle damage to the incisions and may dislodge blood clots, interfering with the healing process.
It may also help to cut your food up into very small pieces. This can reduce the overall discomfort you feel while attempting to chew. Even soft foods can be problematic if they require chewing large pieces, so don’t be afraid to cut them smaller or even switch back to smoothies if needed.
If you experience significant discomfort while eating for more than a week, consult with your dentist as soon as possible. Unless your dentist specifically advised severe jaw repairs during the dental implant procedure, your overall discomfort levels should be minimal by this point. Lingering pain may indicate another problem that requires a follow-up visit.
Dental Implant Recovery Diet Meal Ideas
A dental implant recovery diet doesn’t have to be boring, repetitive, or bland. There is a wide range of ingredients that you can include in your dishes as long as they are prepared at the right temperature and avoid spicy or acidic additions.
Pasta is always a good option for a soft food selection. However, the tomato sauce commonly used in pasta dishes can potentially irritate the gums around your dental implants. Consider a tomato-free or cream-based sauce, and make sure the dish is cooled properly before eating.
For breakfast, try scrambled eggs or omelettes. It’s easy to add vegetables, avocado, and small pieces of meat to omelettes for additional nutrition. Later in your recovery, you can include toast and even make a soft breakfast sandwich on an English muffin.
Meat is a challenge to prepare, but fish is usually soft enough for consuming a few days after your dental implants. Chicken in small pieces is also a good option. Beef or pork mince and sausages can be incorporated into dishes as long as it is not too spicy or hot.
Finally, make sure to include dairy in your diet. The calcium and other nutrients found in dairy products help with the dental implant healing process. Milk, yoghurt, and soft cheese are all excellent options and are easy to incorporate into dishes or serve with breakfast.
Compassionate Dental Care
Although the dental implant healing process takes time, there are ways to minimise your discomfort. A dentist with substantial experience and knowledge in dental implant best practices can make sure your procedure goes smoothly and that you have all the information you need for a complete recovery.
Dentistry on Solent is based in Baulkham Hills, so you can easily access the high-quality dental care you deserve in The Hills district. Our team offers a full range of dental services, so we can be your ongoing partner in dentistry. Call us on (02) 9158 6137 to discuss if you are eligible for a dental implant.